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Attorney's suicide leaves more questions than answers

Publish date: 15 May 2012
Issue Number: 3034
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: General

More questions than answers have been left following the shock suicide of respected Durban attorney Mvuseni Edward Ngubane at the weekend.

And according to a report in The Mercury, family, friends and colleagues were speculating yesterday that financial problems may have played a role. The KZN Law Society said there was no reason to believe money was missing from his trust account - and his brother Boy Ngubane and his close friend Vuka Tshabalala, the former KZN Judge President, said he could have sold his cars if he had desperately needed money. 'If there was something that bad he could have told me about it and I would have helped him. He could have sold his cars. I now believe the Road Accident Fund and some of his clients owed him money. But he did not appear to have financial problems, so it's still a bit of a mystery. Those of us who were close to him just cannot understand it.' Tshabalala said there was no indication of foul play, and he accepted that Ngubane had shot himself. Ngubane's brother Boy said a blood-spattered suicide note in the car referred to work-related problems and the fact that 'work had gone down'. 'And yet his work colleagues said the situation was not critical... If business was that bad, he could have applied to be a judge and he would have been accepted... he also could have sold his cars.' KZN Law Society director Gavin John said there was 'no reason to doubt that the trust was not in order' because the 'successful, solid and ethical' attorney had dutifully submitted audits reports. Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)

The Law Society of SA (LSSA) has paid tribute to its former co-chairperson. 'Mr Ngubane was an active and dynamic member of the attorneys' profession. He served the LSSA and led the attorneys' profession with distinction as co-chairperson in 2003 and was nominated by the LSSA as one of the attorney representatives on the JSC. He continued to make valuable and measured input in the affairs of the profession through his role as a council member of the KZN Law Society, his membership of the Black Lawyers Association and his participation in several specialist committees of the LSSA,' say LSSA Co-Chairpersons Krish Govender and Jan Stemmett.